JUN 9, 2011 10:15am ET

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Data Governance Star Wars: The Force of Agility


I was recently discussing data governance best practices with Rob Karel, the well respected analyst at Forrester Research, and our conversation migrated to one of data governance’s biggest challenges – how to balance bureaucracy and business agility.

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Comments (2)
"Successful data governance programs often start with a small band of rebels (aka change agents) struggling to restore quality to some business-critical data or struggling to resolve inefficiencies in a key business process."

If the definition of data governance is restricted to data quality then perhaps this band of rebels can claim success but this is not a data governance success it is a data quality success. And I have yet to witness this result: "Once news of their successful pilot project spreads more change agents will rally to the cause"

More typically there are kudos for fixing a problem saving the day solving the low hanging fruit issues and then everything reverts to normal. The shine quickly disappears.

Who rallies around data quality besides those directly involved? That is until a problem occurs. Then it is not a rally it is an insurrection.

Data governance does require bureaucracy to begin with just like the deployment of software development lifecycle practices (SDLC) TQM balanced scorecard SIX Sigma project management or business process management. It's a change in culture and behavior.

But once established as a set of recurring best practices the data governance bureaucracy should disbanded and put in maintenance mode.

Posted by Richard O | Thursday, June 09 2011 at 1:23PM ET
Thanks your comment Keep it Simple. I am definitely NOT suggesting that the definition of data governance is restricted to data quality. In fact one of my early points was that "data governance requires the coordination of a complex combination of a myriad of factors including . . . data quality remediation data stewardship business process optimization technology enablement . . ." as well as many others. Additionally I do not consider a once-and-done data cleansing project (which is what you described) to be an example of a pilot project that could jumpstart a data governance program. However I do agree with some of your points like the value of SDLC TQM and Six Sigma principles and the need for disbanding bureaucracy once the necessary shifts in culture and behavior have been established. Best Regards Jim.
Posted by Jim H | Thursday, June 09 2011 at 2:46PM ET
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